Friday, March 30, 2012

Hes East

Birding today involved a female White Wag on the Patch hoping from horse turd to horse turd, a raptor watch which failed to produce any Ospreys (but 6 Kestrel, 3 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk) and a return visit in the afternoon saw 2 Ringed Plover, me trying to string anything that flew as a Sand Mart! and too many dog walkers! Dead battery so no pics of White Wag but smart bird and my first of the spring.

Target of 120 by the end of March in area might still be reachable tomorrow with some local birding. 

Still need;
Sand Martin, Blackcap, Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Swallow, Osprey, Egyptian Goose and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which have all been in the area recently.

As well as finding potential with Black-necked Grebe, Crane, Hawfinch, Long-eared Owl and anything else, it is spring afterall!!!

Stonechat would be nice though!

Wouldn't say no to a Ring Ouzel.

Black Red at Hes East would be sweet.

Missed Avocet this week so a grip back would be good!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Nice days birding around the LDV in glorious summer time weather that wouldn't be out of place in the middle of July!

Female Red-crested Pochard on the pool at Wheldrake was a good start and my 118th sp in the York area so far this year. Definite bonus species and not expected at all! Only other records I can find in the York Area in the last 14 years are of 2 at Castle Howard in 2009 and 2 a Bank Island in 2004 so not regular at all!

A Merlin and plenty of sum plum Black-tailed Godwits were the other highlights here, just wish one of the Blackwits would fly up to Hes East!

Onto Skipwith where I saw my first ever Adder! Stonking! 5 Grass Snake and a Common Lizard made for nice reptile selection!

North Duffield was quiet until Chris picked up a distant Red Kite, second time we've both been in the hide and second time we've had a Red Kite here!

Although the report of 2 Black Kite in the log book from last week seems a bit suspect...

Finishing off at Hes East where we've got 2 new tern rafts and a Sand Martin bank and a new path that leads upto an awesome 360 panorama of the York area!

Looks like this new area of the site could produce some good raptors and vis mig in the not to distant future hopefully!

You can see right up to Helmsley and the White Horse in the North, Drax Power station at Selby in the South, the Wolds to the East and across the city to the west!

A 'continental' looking alba/yarelli wagtail was on the main lake along with the Green Sand and 2 Redshank, a new pair of Oystercatcher on site meant for a lot of disputes between them a noisy pipping. 

Still no Sand Martins! Where are they all? Answers on a postcard

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iconic Upton

Nice trip home this weekend and a quick visit to Upton Warren produced in air acrobatics from these two

imm female (3cy?) 

ad male

What spring migrants await in the York Area this week? Andy Walker reports a singing Willow Warbler in his garden today!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Reckon you know your Greater from Lesser nest holes?

Comments welcomed on these, I know scale is hard to judge but guess!

2. Smaller one underneath larger one

quite low down



not quite finished/feeding hole?

same as above?
Answers on a postcard

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Day out around the LDV scored 1 year tick with a colour rung Woodlark at Skipwith

Had a crack at flight digiscoping, its hard!

This Barn Owl showed mega well from the Geoff Smith Hide

Another attempt at flight shot, I guess its a lot easier with a DSLR!

Some of the 27 Blackwits at Wheldrake, some coming into stunning plumage

Single Whooper calling away from Swantail

Still no luck with Lesser Spotted Woodpecker! One was seen yesterday at Strensall so I might have to twitch that!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


2 males on the patch yesterday

Also a few Chiffchaff put me on 116 for the York Area 2012 list. Hopefully add a few more tomorrow!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Local Birding

Right, no posts for last few weeks due to broken laptop, all sorted now so quick summary of recent birding.

Local birding has consisted of plenty of Iceland Gulls between Upper Poppleton and Wheldrake with a minimum of 4 adults, 3 2w and 3 juvs! Also Adult and Juv Glaucous Gull thrown in for good measure!

Hes East has been pretty quite with varying numbers of diving duck upto 7 Pochard and 5 Tufted Duck. Last week or so a few waders have moved in with 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Redshank, 1 Green Sand, 1 Dunlin and best of all my first Little Ringed Plover of the year which I believe is the first in Yorkshire/North East so far this spring!

Singing away at a potential Lesser Spotted Woodpecker site, fingers crossed for photos of them at somepoint next week!

Last weekend involved a day in the south of the area looking for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Hawfinch and Bewick's Swan and a day in the north of the area looking for Goshawk, Firecrest, Green-winged Teal and Dipper but managed to fail on all but one target! Guesses on which one seen?!

Several Fallow Deer around

Elusive fem Brambling, still very scarce this winter!

Been busy with a lovely GIS project on badger sets this week so very little birding done this week! 

Hopefully in the next week or two will see Wheatear, Sand Martin and Garganey in the area, already been an Osprey reported as well as Sand Marts!

After a good January and February my York Area Year List moved onto 112, however March has been pretty rubbish! Only 2 area ticks so far with Black-tailed Godwit and Little Ringed Plover taking me to 114, here's hoping to a better second half of the month!

Birding out of the area has recently involved a weekend in Birmingham involving a day trip out to South Wales to see the Common Yellowthroat that has been wintering there, elusive bird but pretty distinctive when it hoped out of the grass! Also drake Lesser Scaup at Cosmeston Lakes CP, but highlight here was a stunning adult Whooper Swan that had been to Upton Warren! More on that later! Some Pale-bellied Brents in Cardiff Bay were a new ssp for me! 


Showed pretty well, neat bird, now for the self found one...

 Click here for a video of the Lesser Scaup being chased by a Coot!

Cool birds

Style to the Yellowthroat, bird was too elusive for photography!

A day trip around Bradford and Leeds resulted in a dip on Black-bellied Dipper and great views of a drake American Wigeon at Anglers CP and not so great views of a drake Smew and Black-necked Grebe at Witnersett Reservoir.

Can you spot it?

Showed well in nice sunshine but strong wind prevented a proper sharp photo!

Finally, apparently there was a good chance of seeing the Northern lights the other week, too much cloud cover but did have a play with long shutter speeds!

Sunday, March 11, 2012